One of the most encouraging pieces of working for our Chamber is having the opportunity to watch our community grow in new ways and to see people create new ideas that improve our quality of life.
Unlike communities our size around the nation, Owensboro is growing. Our population, instead of declining, is increasing. And we are having steady manageable growth. That has much to do with our people. The word is getting out.
Every week at the Chamber, we have several contacts with people moving here. It is often for careers. But we are seeing a shift in that. We are seeing people move here who can work anywhere but have heard about us and are choosing Owensboro for the quality of life.
Last week, in 48 hours, two significant moments occurred that are indicators that we have an unprecedented momentum in our community.
Owensboro is on the Bourbon Trail. This is a big deal. Close to a million people visited the 10 distilleries on the Bourbon Trail last year. And now that OZ Tyler has been added, we are the westernmost stop. That uniquely positions us to be the first or the last stop. And that couldn’t be better news for tourism.
This “cathedral of whiskey” built in 1885, restored in 1939 as Medley Distillery and acquired and renovated by Terressentia Corporation in 2014, is an example of our rich history being a part of our bright future. And it is a fusion between established Owensboro icons and the newcomers who are making us more prosperous and more interesting. The Hewlette family is making its mark on Greater Owensboro.
And PorchFest OBKY. This event is one of those “why not?” moments for which Owensboro is renowned. Tamarra Miller and Andy Brasher brought an idea to Owensboro that Brasher had experienced in Louisiana. Their idea was embraced by homeowners, businesses who sponsored the event, musicians who performed, organizations that offered parking and the hundreds of people who attended. The couple’s hard work was a gift to all who joined in and enjoyed the evening. The community pride on the faces of the people who participated was palpable.
That is a recurring theme. Our community is committed to itself. We are committed to creating a place where we want to live, to work and to play. And a community that lives with this commitment is healthy — economies grow, people invest themselves and they tend to their neighbors. Just imagine what is next.
By Candance Brake, President and CEO of the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce